AVOW recently announced that The “Hwb Wrecsam” 3D Printing Hub project has now helped to raise £18,000 in donations from the community. It has enabled keyworkers across North East Wales to access personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following on from a Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) announcement that certified PPE is available in numbers for their staff to use, volunteers who linked with local schools, including Ysgol Clywedog, are being celebrated for their role at the forefront of the local PPE effort. They have produced protective face-visors for staff in hospital and care settings in Wrexham using 3D printers and laser-bed cutting technology.
Using Ysgol Clywedog’s IT Suite
Dr Graham Sparey-Taylor and Cllr Phil Wynn established the 3D Printing Hwb at Ysgol Clywedog in early April. Matt Vickery, Headteacher at Ysgol Clywedog, provided the school’s IT suite to use as a base. Whereas, AVOW brought governance and a fundraising platform.
With an enthusiastic local response from members of the community, Hwb Wrecsam quickly expanded to over 30 volunteers with local organisations, small businesses, community groups and individuals donating material and machines. The Hwb was therefore able to provide even greater numbers of protective visors for use by healthworkers. Even including ICU staff at the Maelor Hospital caring for patients suffering from Covid-19.
Cllr Phil Wynn
Cllr Phil Wynn, whose idea it was to use Ysgol Clywedog as a base, said; “At the outset of the pandemic, it was distressing to read that NHS staff up and down the UK were having to use bin bags for PPE. It has been with great pride for me to be part of the nation’s movement of schools and 3D printers (many of whom were also home-based). They rallied to the need for home-produced visors in the absence of a certified supply.
“We wanted to ensure we were supplying face-visors which met BCUHB requirements. We are indebted to the guidance provided by M-Sparc and Awyr Las. It was also a pleasure to work with a great group of volunteers who answered AVOW’s call for support. Without their commitment, we could never have achieved our part in the national effort.”
Matt Vickery, the Head at Ysgol Clywedog, stated; “I’m immensely proud of my staff, Jo Brown and Nick Clarke for their commitment to producing face-visors to meet local demand using the school’s laser-bed cutting machine. I know many of Wrexham’s secondary schools’ design and technology staff have been doing exactly the same. A big thank-you to them too.
“It just seemed the right thing to do to allow Hwb Wrecsam to be based at the school. It was nice to hear how many of the volunteers were previously educated at Ysgol Clywedog, or for many Bryn Offa as it was in their day.”
This community response to the Covid-19 crisis inspired the generosity of the people of Wrexham who donated via the AVOW fundraising page to fund the project. As this schools-based phase of the project closes, a number of 3D-printing machines that have been bought. They will be donated to local schools later in the year and also a donation made to Awyr Las, the NHS charity helping people across North Wales.
John Gallanders, Chief Officer of AVOW stated; “In all the years I have been involved in the Volunteer Sector, I have never known a time when so many individuals of all ages have stepped forward to offer their time and skills to help the most vulnerable members of our society. It has been an honour for AVOW to have supported the Hwb Wrecsam project. The time has come for British Industry to step in and produce certified PPE for our front-line NHS and care-setting staff”.
Dr Graham Sparey-Taylor, a lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, whose idea it was to create a 3D Print Hwb with his two young sons, describes the project now as going“ into a new phase”. Continuing to produce PPE/protective visors at a new site in the Wrexham area. With the Covid-19 crisis ongoing and workers cautiously looking to the lockdown being lifted. Volunteers have set up Hwb Wrecsam as a Community Interest Company. They will continue to fundraise and produce as many protective visors as possible.
Praise For Wrexham
He added “As we move forward, our heartfelt thanks go to Matt Vickery who supported us. Without whom we simply could not have produced so many visors. We sincerely thank Cllr Phil Wynn, Chair of Governors at the school, and the teaching staff who allowed us to use their IT suite.
“We’ve seen so much kindness and commitment in Wrexham’s recent PPE effort, from dedicated teaching staff working on laser-bed printers in schools to people producing protective visors on their 3D printers at home. Without the support of our schools and universities and the outpouring of generosity from skilled volunteers and the Wrecsam community, we would not been able to help so many people.
“As we move to our new site to continue producing PPE during this Covid-19 crisis. We need this support more than ever.”
For Hwb Wrecsam 3D printing, please contact Lucy Ellinson, Hwb Wrecsam’s Media Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07946 537 839. For general community support and Covid-19 response, please contact the AVOW team at email@example.com.
Thanks to Hwb Wrecsam for the image of the 3D-printed visor frame design model; “PRUSA”. A custom-made with rainbow colours in acknowledgement of the dedication and hardwork of NHS and care workers across the country.